How to Make High Performance Sound Absorption Panels for $5

  • Published on Aug 8, 2016
  • In this video I explore the possibility of making DIY sound absorption panels on a budget, later comparing them to much more expensive acoustic foam. The results are pretty amazing!
    There have been many comments pointing out that my test only measures transmission and not reflection, so is essentially unsuitable for my initial testing goal. While this is partly true, testing reflection is pretty difficult to do in a home environment, and the only way to do it that I can think of would be to spend a long time in the middle of a field with a powerful speaker and mic rig, which is really beyond the scope of what I was prepared to do for the video.
    My tests are not rendered pointless however - it would do no good to have only measured reflection, as the thinnest lightest material would have won (like foam), as nothing would have bounced back. Reflection and transmission need to be tested together to measure how much sound passes through, and how much sound is reflected back - this should give an indication of how much sound is absorbed by a given material.
    Regardless, only testing the transmission doesn't affect the outcome of the project at all, as any sound waves reflected by the panels themselves would have theoretically bounced off the wall anyway - again this is why reflection wasn't tested, as it doesn't matter so much for a panel setup (though would matter very much for a vocal booth).
    Open to hear any thoughts about it though! Keep up the great discussion. :)
  • Howto & StyleHowto & Style

Comments • 3 147

  • MrTechnophile
    MrTechnophile 2 hours ago

    Excellent video, thank you!
    I would like to see what happens with carpet and/or padding. Used carpet (or unused cutoffs) is frequently available free. Beware odors.
    When assembling frame corners, if you've already put glue in the joint it may help to clamp before drilling to prevent sawdust and wood chips getting between the boards. I like to drill one hole, apply glue, put in the first screw to hold the joint together, then drill the other screw holes. This ensures that the holes line up.

  • Dirk Delfortrie
    Dirk Delfortrie 6 hours ago

    BRILLIANT 💪 Thank you! I’m 100% trying this ... New sub 😬

  • MVGx Flight
    MVGx Flight 15 hours ago

    So being i use foam like to say one u place it egg or pyramid side towards the sound u had it backwards xD its not suppose to block it but actually bounce it back also being outside with outside isnt a great idea for a test ps straight foam is for bounce back very cheap tbh xD

  • SJRogers
    SJRogers Day ago

    What's that attachment you used after you drilled the holes and before you put the screws in?

  • SJRogers
    SJRogers Day ago

    What size is the frame?

  • Jan Irace
    Jan Irace Day ago

    the thing is (and I'm not an audio engineer so don't quote me), professional foam is not used to reduce the sound leaking from the room so that eventual neighbours get pissed, it is used to control how and in what amount the different frequencies bounce off the walls

  • AscendtionArc
    AscendtionArc Day ago

    This was very scientific, but I can't help thinking that the sound would just close around the panel on your test bed, eg why the cushion that left less space did well.

  • Jenna Orlowski
    Jenna Orlowski Day ago

    Conducting an audio experiment in a loud environment... dude seriously, I heard a plane buzzing over your head.

  • Dmitri Bolt
    Dmitri Bolt Day ago

    The testing methodology is wrong. You will get even better result with list of steel.

  • Andreya Silverfox
    Andreya Silverfox 2 days ago

    I want that desktop background :P

  • Bennyclay661
    Bennyclay661 2 days ago


  • Faith Pennington
    Faith Pennington 3 days ago

    we already tried the spray foam in the walls and foam board.

  • Faith Pennington
    Faith Pennington 3 days ago

    Thank you. Do you have any input on what one can do to an indoor wall to not hear whats going on in the other room?I

  • Isaac Pizarro
    Isaac Pizarro 3 days ago

    this is not under $5 bucks...

  • Definitely A Black Guy

    why does every guy with an English accent sound smart?

  • Anthony A
    Anthony A 3 days ago

    *My only question is, what size were those pieces of wood? I got 96 inch pieces of wood that look similar in thickness. I was about to make 45 in. tall and 20 in. wide panels lol. Do you just recommend going with whatever we want that we like or is there a sweet spot that'll make the most impact?

  • Anthony A
    Anthony A 3 days ago

    3:56 well at our thrift shop they were $2 each. Brand new towels are just $3 or $4 where I'm at in the USA lol.

  • Uncle Hertz
    Uncle Hertz 5 days ago

    The worst is parallel walls. Creating comb effect. At your sitting position you want to get rid of the reflexion that gets back to you . A fast trick is you take a mirror...and a friend. Move the mirror on the walls. Everywhere you see yourself in the mirror place an acoustic panel or a panel to deflect the sound out of your listening position.

  • Faith Pennington
    Faith Pennington 5 days ago

    does this sound proofing keep you from hearing your next door neighbors too?

    • Tyynymyy
      Tyynymyy 4 days ago

      The point of acoustic treatment is to get rid of the unwanted room echo, not sound proof the room.

  • Joe Picard
    Joe Picard 5 days ago

    Seems like the test would be more practical if it was measuring the reflective quality of the material rather than the transmissive quality.

  • real liphe
    real liphe 5 days ago

    Thank you so much

  • Anthony A
    Anthony A 5 days ago

    Damn, this looks cool and it's cheap as hell compared to getting those very similar looking $70+ ones. This is gonna be good enough for me! Thanks man.

  • Arthur Harrison
    Arthur Harrison 5 days ago

    Tuning a room isn't just a matter of placing maximally-absorptive material everywhere. It's the proper placement of panels with specific amounts of absorption and dispersion at various frequencies that make the procedure somewhat more complicated and costly. That's not to say that empirical placement isn't worth something, but a thorough job is more than a casual exercise.

  • Liam Hopper
    Liam Hopper 5 days ago

    could I put rockwool inside the frame too or would that just not really make a difference?

  • Ed Perry
    Ed Perry 5 days ago

    Hello Matt. You are such a nice chap!

  • The CurAzy
    The CurAzy 8 days ago

    This will probably work to a certain degree, and I'm not a big fan of foam either but: Following the logic of the experiment, sand would be an even better sound absorbing filling, and free if you have a river nearby. The issue is reflection, after all, not how much sound reaches the other side of the panel. The widely used filling materials rock wool and glass wool are actually quite cheap and produce the best results. Having built many sound absorbing panels IMHO the best strategy to cut costs is to spend as little as possible on the frame and the cover.

  • Vishal Gaikwad
    Vishal Gaikwad 8 days ago

    Owesom bro

  • Simplexcity
    Simplexcity 8 days ago

    You should show what dimensions you used for the wood. Would be helpful to replicate the same effect.

  • Fsilone
    Fsilone 8 days ago

    Even if there was something wrong with the testing (I think it was spot-on, but I'm not a pro by any means), the proof is in the pudding. The difference we can hear in the comparison is enough to sell me on it.

  • Fsilone
    Fsilone 8 days ago

    Lol "well done, towel"

  • Lilliana Holland
    Lilliana Holland 9 days ago

    Okay I've got a question... so, I play alto saxophone and clarinet. My room is pretty echo-y, and you can hear me play from the other side of my house, even when my door is closed. I also need to record myself playing for school, but the sound quality is terrible. Would making these work to dampen sound and improve sound quality in recordings?

  • Wounded Ego
    Wounded Ego 9 days ago

    Brilliant video/project from start to finish. Thank you kind sir for posting!

  • Bryce Fountain
    Bryce Fountain 10 days ago

    What blows my mind is the before and after. Then again when you where taking by your computer towards the end, and it sounded nothing like the after audio.

  • MrMakeStuff
    MrMakeStuff 10 days ago

    Very good thank you

  • UnaccountableTv
    UnaccountableTv 11 days ago

    no control

  • Alexander Weidner
    Alexander Weidner 11 days ago

    I'm doing this right now. FUck. I need to say it : FUCK. Every screw i have doesn't fit any screw drivers i have. I'm sweating like a pig since one hour to make one simple frame and using like 900 tools and different screws. And i'm only 20%done and i give up for today.

  • The Devil
    The Devil 12 days ago

    That shirt is atrocious.

  • HolliValsMusic
    HolliValsMusic 12 days ago

    This is just what I needed.

  • kribbathome
    kribbathome 13 days ago +1

    Sorry, but your test is utterly useless to determine how absorptive the materials are. If you want to make a field test of absorption, you'll have to look at how much is REFLECTED from the material. You'd have to use an intensity probe to do that. How much noise that transmits through the material is not descriptive at all of the absorption. You'd get better results if you put a gypsum board inbetween the speaker and the microphone.
    Best absorber for the money is mineral wool medium density. Auralex and other products that sell for hundreds of dollars don't even come close to absorbing as much as ordinary insulation. Be sure to cover the mineral wool with a cloth that you easily can breath through, for instance bed sheet with low thread count or linen.
    Be sure to up the thickness of the mineral wool if you want to absorb lower frequencies. about 1/8 of the wavelength of the lowest frequency you want to absorb is needed to get decent absorption.

  • Jacob Berg
    Jacob Berg 13 days ago

    Great video! Im really thankful i saw this before i started building 👍

  • Hanson Leong
    Hanson Leong 14 days ago

    Is there any soundproofing effect by this pannel? Pls help and thanks!

  • Violeta Cervantes
    Violeta Cervantes 14 days ago

    Muy buen video, tome su like y mi suscripción, buen hombre!

  • Ludovic Rocca
    Ludovic Rocca 15 days ago

    Vidéo sympa mais malheureusement sa méthode n'est pas fiable du tout ! Confusion totale !
    Il semble vouloir réduire le temps de réverbération d'une pièce : pour cela il doit mesurer la réverbération (RT60 par exemple) et non pas le pouvoir isolant des matériaux, ce qu'il fait ici...
    Il ne faut pas confondre absorption avec isolation. Si on prend un mur un béton, il absorbe peu (la pièce va résonner) mais il isole beaucoup des sons extérieurs.
    Même confusion souvent avec les boites d'oeufs qui absorbent bien mais qui n'isolent pas du tout.

  • Dale Weseman
    Dale Weseman 15 days ago

    Great Video, thank you for saving me a bunch of money. I also heard you could use egg cartons (the carboard ones not the plastic ones), maybe you could expand on your test to add these. Thanks again.

  • Rick M
    Rick M 16 days ago

    Can you please do this with a piece of carpet I would appreciate it very very very very much and thank you for the videos

  • videostarish
    videostarish 18 days ago

    Nice video Matt. But, I you act & sound like Jon Bentley of 'the gadget show'!..... which is a good thing!...... So, if he retires......!?

  • arrow zen
    arrow zen 19 days ago

    Thank you for such a good idea. It will save me a lot of $ trying this. Question:
    I have a black sheet covering my wall with some foam panels. May not work the best but looks great. My question is, I have a roll of what is called pigmat. Heavy duty thick matted paper absorbing towels used for absorbing spilled liquid in a shop. I thought if I hung some of this behind the sheet a few layers of it. It may work well and not be seen and the sound might be better? Do you think? Picture a huge roll of paper towels about 3 feet wide, a quarter inch thick which you could unroll to any length.

  • Bruce Wayne Gilmore
    Bruce Wayne Gilmore 20 days ago

    Are you insane ???

  • BlueAlgon
    BlueAlgon 20 days ago

    I've done it - built 7 panels according to your instructions...well, except using 4 towels per panel. Definite improvement. Thanks again.

  • Boi Mesa
    Boi Mesa 20 days ago

    would it be possible to make drum shields from these?

  • Ralph Jean
    Ralph Jean 20 days ago

    OH my mom's towels is about to lose their lives. ESSSSkkkiitteeeee

  • St-Louis Alexandre
    St-Louis Alexandre 20 days ago

    The guy is testing materials searching for the one who will block the most sounds from a point A to a point B, by placing the material between the source of the sound and the mic capturing it. This is not what we're looking at when we're thinking of ''sound absorbtion''. We're trying to stop the sound bouncing from a place to another, which is quite different.

  • kochumvk
    kochumvk 21 day ago

    Here is why your test is unscientific:
    1. Your test is conducted outdoor. So there is less opportunity for the sound to bounce off.
    2. Material between the speaker and microphone gives the measurement of how much sound it conducts, not necessarily absorption.
    3. Your test disregard the sound reflected by the material.
    4. Ideal test should be where microphone and speaker should be on same side and sound should be allowed to bounce off the wall. This is not an easy test.
    All said. Appreciate your effort and the towel is a good cheap alternative, even though the test is misleading.

  • RPdigital
    RPdigital 21 day ago

    How do towels compare to the sheets? Also have you tested , does it make difference if towel is hanging over 1 wire in vertical position, as in your test it is supported by 2 wires in horizontal position.

  • fuzzybusiness
    fuzzybusiness 21 day ago

    Does it work to keep noise down from neighbors?

  • Lightly Salted7
    Lightly Salted7 21 day ago

    1:50- how it's made music
    you sly dog

  • Wiggles
    Wiggles 21 day ago

    Don't forget to bring a towel. 💩

  • BlueAlgon
    BlueAlgon 22 days ago

    Thanks! Fantastic idea.

  • Banshee Does a Thing
    Banshee Does a Thing 22 days ago

    So put a bunch of towels in my room, understood.

  • gantmj
    gantmj 22 days ago

    1 - 5 K is where the typical high end, annoying frequencies fall. The frequencies tested here were inconsequential.
    It just happened to work out that the towels worked sufficiently well for 1 - 5 K.

    TCRUISER16 22 days ago

    You really need to move out of your parents house and get your shit together, and I gotta stop watching stupid shit like this

  • Sue GIvens
    Sue GIvens 23 days ago

    wow the fabric of space

  • SNIPER999
    SNIPER999 23 days ago

    Fantastic ! My 11yr old son is a drummer albeit still in his infancy as a musician. We’ve been toying with how to soundproof a room so he can practice more without giving his siblings a headache, this towel method sounds like it could work a treat with a few adaptations. Thanks ! 😃👍

  • Rusty Travelboy Rob
    Rusty Travelboy Rob 23 days ago

    Love this. Well done.

  • Jazzymaz
    Jazzymaz 24 days ago

    Feel sorry for your Neighbours

  • NudaRider
    NudaRider 24 days ago

    I use cumrags. Made from good old toilet paper and my own jizz. Just stick them to the wall when they're still wet. Costs fuck all

  • Sean
    Sean 24 days ago

    Theon Greyjoy's more handsome and successful brother. Great video btw

  • Webbie
    Webbie 25 days ago

    as Towelie would say, 'don't forget to bring a towel'

  • Peter Xian
    Peter Xian 25 days ago

    I wonder what's the performance for building one based on an existing printed stretch canvas. Anybody built one?

  • cosmolv
    cosmolv 25 days ago

    This one is nice :)

  • darrsh0
    darrsh0 26 days ago

    You are a genius

  • Ignacio Montero
    Ignacio Montero 27 days ago

    Matt, I am pretty sure I've heard your voice before on a Hublot Big Bang commercial. You made a great job on that one!

  • Karenx joy
    Karenx joy 27 days ago

    Cool thanks. My recording studio is my little closet.. sooo im just going to tape towels on the walls and doors

  • Brendan P
    Brendan P 29 days ago

    Would really like to see this tested against a sound absorbtion panel and not just a piece of foam.

  • Julia Set
    Julia Set Month ago

    Great Vid! I will be hitting all the thrift stores tomorrow for towels. I bet the towel trick would do even better if you bunched it up like a curtain so you had “ridges and valleys”. If it doesn’t work out for me my dog thanks you, he steals my towels to lie on.

  • Steve C
    Steve C Month ago

    I wonder how rock wool would have fared?

  • Meep Changeling
    Meep Changeling Month ago

    Acustic foam is just for echo reduction, not for quieting a room.

  • Daisuke Nomura
    Daisuke Nomura Month ago

    Would these help muffle dog barks in an apartment complex? And after making the panel would putting a poster over them negate any of the effects?

  • Eric Mayers
    Eric Mayers Month ago

    Towels may effectively reduce sound reflection but your methodology is flawed: a very dense and hard surface would have blocked transmission of the sound but wouldn’t be effective in a room.
    A setup intended to measure reflection would be interesting. For example try directing the audio down a tube, bounce off a piece of test material and into another tube, measuring volume at the end of the second tube. In this setup a hard material should reflect a lot of sound while acoustically absorbent material would suppress the reflection.

  • mustis M
    mustis M Month ago

    Great video, but as said before, youre testing how much sound is passing through a certain material, not the actual dampening of sound. Can you make a new video with some echo sounds, the usual handclap sounds maybe..

  • Forrest Weaver
    Forrest Weaver Month ago

    That is cool!!

  • Andy Youngson
    Andy Youngson Month ago

    Unfortunately this completely wrong.
    The measurements he has taken are of the sound being reduced via some of the sound reflecting and some being absorbed.
    The towels perform better in the test carried out due to their higher density.
    Absorption is measured as an NRC rating. This is done by playing a loud and sharp sound within a room and measuring the reverb decay (RT60) with and without the 'absorption' materials in the room.
    The towels will improve the sound within the room but with the panels at an estimated NCR of 0.3 (30%) there are a lot of more efficient ways to improve the sound quality within a room.
    I hope this helps.

  • Mr T
    Mr T Month ago

    DIY Perks How does the towel test compare to Rockwool?

  • Garblag Games
    Garblag Games Month ago

    thanks for the advice! This has massively improved the sound quality on our channel. Awesomeness!

  • Rain E
    Rain E Month ago

    i'll use them in my pc as sound dampening material.

  • Love Life
    Love Life Month ago

    hmm, Im wondering if towels instead of rock wool used in the floors would be better.

  • Love Life
    Love Life Month ago

    Awesome, thanks. Would hace been good to have Gyprock wool in the test.

  • SatvikSeth
    SatvikSeth Month ago

    Efforts of the video creator are appreciated, but so called DIY low-cost panels are completely ineffective. I did the following trial at zero cost to verify the claims (and perhaps one can replicate it to confirm):
    1) I downloaded a few traffic sounds clips on my mobile from this site: (namely, City Car Horn, Siren, Fire Truck Siren, and a few more).
    2) Took 3 towels: one - completely new and unused, two - the one I'm using at present, and three - a worn out old towel.
    3) Kept them one on top of the other to form 3 layers. Folded that heap from central line to create a 6-towels layer.
    4) Started the various sound clips on my mobile in repeat loop. Kept the phone in the middle of the 6-towel layer and then folded it once again to make a 12-layer. That is - sound generating mobile now had 6 towels at the top and 6 at the bottom that completely covered the mobile.
    Surprising results - hardly any difference in sound reduction. The sound intensity was same with or without the toweled layer. I also verified it by using the sound meter app on another android mobile (
    No - towels DO NOT work effectively.

    • austin hollinger music.unedited
      austin hollinger music.unedited 26 days ago

      towels are better for acoustic treatment not sound proofing. There is a very big difference

    • SatvikSeth
      SatvikSeth Month ago

      One can try this zero cost experiment on their own, and share the results here. Let me (and everyone) know of any customizations that can help

  • Geoff McQueen
    Geoff McQueen Month ago

    Well done, towel!

  • the lazy fish keeper

    have you thought of hanging a heavy fabric curtain across the wall? just an idea stay well

  • Lucas Clausen
    Lucas Clausen Month ago

    I would not stretch it to much it will vibrate more then a losse one.

  • Arjuna
    Arjuna Month ago

    A towel is like 10$

  • twochaudio twochaudio

    Spray a fire retardant
    On them. Also i think sound panels only take out certain octaves. Check into that. .

  • Pier Bover
    Pier Bover Month ago

    This test isn't showing what material absorbs sound better but which one blocks it better. To test absorption you need to bounce the sound and see how much it's being reflected.

  • Alejandro Varela Gandara

    Bullshit. Your tests are in an open area with no resonances. Get off of this tips!

  • Mista Creepa
    Mista Creepa Month ago

    Just kidding, sir. This was an excellent video and I thank you so much for your detailed efforts. Towels it is!

  • Mista Creepa
    Mista Creepa Month ago

    Ok, the truth is ...this guy is a Towel Salesman with a passion for music

  • 00WolfSpirit
    00WolfSpirit Month ago

    I'll have to head to goodwill and get some towels. My brother is another one of those stereotypical call of duty bitches and my room is right under his. I need something to line my room with and hopefully keep sounds out.

  • Its That Guy!!! gaming

    Dont forget to bleach those towels too

  • XxIzhtarxX
    XxIzhtarxX Month ago

    but you most the main point, what is the towel´s material